Shame on CNN

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  While the rest of the world sees Egypt’s current situation as a testament to dictatorship and the power behind several thousand motivated citizens, CNN seems to have missed the memo.

To hear them tell it, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak is nothing but a weakling easily pushed out by college-age students and a few days of demonstrations. I mean, surely, it should take more than that to topple the great Mubarak! Listening to conversations between Anderson Cooper and some random person whose name I didn’t catch, had I been Mubarak I would have made the decision to stay in power. Irresponsible journalism is what it is.

Mubarak’s decision to leave office early would have (and should have) been seen as a smart decision made for the benefit of his citizens and his country. He has been in power for 30 years after all and there isn’t much he can accomplish in the last few remaining months. It’s an embarrassment for him to continue to stay in power while the whole world watches his own citizens loudly and publicly reject him. However, news “reporting” like the one I listened to last night on CNN makes this final step very difficult. While governments, including the United States, are urging the elderly (and publicly humiliated) Mubarak to step down, these journalists are spending their time mocking the idea of his stepping down from power! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to avoid that kind of mockery?

It’s unlikely that Mubarak made the decision to stay in power due to CNN’s poor coverage – they’re not that powerful. However, that’s beside the point: journalism is worthless if it isn’t impartial and done with integrity. There’s a reason CNN and other media are valued; because of the sometimes misguided notion that they are the truth tellers, the people we can always turn to for unbiased reporting of situations. It is not for CNN to mock Mubarak or anyone else for that matter. It’s their job to report on the crisis, it’s ours to develop opinions about the crisis. We don’t need CNN to tell us how they feel about it because we don’t care; if you want to share an opinion, get a talk show! We also don’t need CNN to tell us how to feel about any of this either. We’re very capable of developing our own opinions, thank you very much!

Finally, while for CNN this may be just another exciting journalistic experience, for the rest of the world it is the end of a dictatorship and the hope for a better future for Egyptians. In addition, it sets the tone for many countries especially in Africa and the Middle East. While to CNN this may be a movie to be watched and mocked, it has real life implications for majority of the rest of the world. It would be good for CNN to remember that and cover these events with the seriousness they deserve.

PS: A few hours after this post, President Mubarak stepped down and is no longer president of Egypt. I hope and pray that this is truly a new beginning for all citizens of Egypt. Congratulations to them (and to him for quitting before things got bloodier for the Egyptian people. He may have been unwilling but at least he didn’t drag it out, African-dictator style causing lots and lots of needless deaths) May God bless Egytians and their nation as they move forward to the next phase of their lives.

The Work in Relationships

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“People are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” goes one of my favorite quotes. Here’s another: “Friendship is optional; people are allowed to opt in or out of a friendship, and so are you.” Actually, that second one is my personal (and original) mantra.

 What about the lifetime friend who somehow turns into a seasonal friend? What about the lifetime marriage that turns into a less-than-a-lifetime marriage? What do you do when your best friend inexplicably turns cold or your boss from hell also happens to be the guy who signs the very paycheck that puts food on your table? When your children disappoint you or your parents drive you up the freaking wall for the umpteenth time? What do you do? What are you willing to do?

In my opinion, few things can hurt as the realization that a relationship with someone you love and/or respect has reached an end. It’s harder to deal with it when it happens for no reason at all; not one that you can see anyway. The first response is to take a step back and depending on the relationship, your next instinct may be to walk away, or in some cases, RUN away! Pride may also kick into high gear at this point.

We’re often told that marriage is hard work and not for the faint of heart. What we’re not told is that in actual fact, ALL relationships that matter to us are our business. It’s our job to nurture them, protect them, fix them if broken, and improve them. Here’s a thought: if a relationship is not working, the first place we should evaluate is our role in its failure before looking at the other party. Depending on the kind of relationship it is – friendship, marriage, work related etc – we may also need to put in extra work because it’s not possible for it to be a 50/50 split in its maintenance at all times. A pregnant friend may not be able to put in as much work or effort in your relationship for a season. That means you’d have to pick up the slack. A grieving friend may not have the effort to meet you half way. You’d need to meet them more than half way. Your over-protective parents may need to be loved exactly as they are, since you’ll never have other parents. In that case, you would need to do the work necessary to both keep your sanity and respect/honor them.

My challenge this week is to assess my failing or failed relationships, make the decisions that need to be made, see what, if any, work I need to do to rejuvenate them and then move forward, with or without them. This means that I’ll have to be willing to see some uncomfortable truths about myself e.g the energy and work invested in them or the lack thereof. I’d like to think I’m a good friend/partner/employee but alas, maybe not always and maybe not to everyone.

Join me in assessing your own relationships. If your marriage is on the rocks or you can’t stand your boss then make an honest assessment of the situation. What kind of work are you willing to put into your particular relationships? Remember that sometimes, it’s better to be happy than to be right so you may need to compromise. You may need to forgive or ask for forgiveness, even when you feel they should apologize first. You may end up having an uncomfortable conversation or two – or God forbid, more – with certain people and some of those relationships may be beyond salvaging and you may need to let them go.

Be advised that sometimes, talking to other friends about your current situation may not be helpful, so take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. Of course, sometimes it’s easier to tell a stranger who cares so feel free to share with me and ask questions; you know I’ll definitely reply.

I challenge all of us to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to maintain our relationships. In case you haven’t heard, relationships make life worth living; they make the world go round…or maybe that was love? Either way, here’s to stronger, better, healthier relationships!

Three cheers!

Ode to Friendship

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Have you ever had someone do something so great for you, unexpectedly? It could have been a stranger (like the security guy who quite randomly and unexpectedly gave me a free pass to the viewing deck at the Rockefeller Center in NYC), or an acquaintance or even a friend. They may have given you good advice, time, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a monetary gift, maybe they even connected you to the right people for your career….the list is endless. The point is, if you’re like me, they gave you exactly what you needed at that time. Did you thank them? Do you remember them or were their actions forgotten shortly thereafter? Do you try to be like them to others?

Well, recently certain people showed up in a big way for me. This post is about them. This post is about saying “thank you” to unexpected friends at an unexpected time. This post is to inspire you to think of those that have shown up for you, to thank them in your own way, to remember them as often as possible, and to be one of them as often as you can. Here are a few of them who made a positive impact to my life these last couple of weeks.

C, my friend and hairdresser sure didn’t think he’d be earning his stripes as a therapist when he agreed to do my hair. Try to imagine what it must feel like to be washing a client’s hair while she cries, applying hair stuff while she cries and putting her under the drier while she cries! I imagine it must have been quite uncomfortable, and yet he hang in there with me. Eventually, I was able to share the cause of the tears. He in turn gave me very good solid advice that quite literally saved my sanity. It also strengthened our friendship and trust.

Maggy unexpectedly stopped by my house. Maggy told me that she hadn’t planned on coming over on that particular day but felt she needed to. I wasn’t expecting her either. That visit brought us much closer and she ended up giving me advice on both a professional and a personal matter. On that day, she brought me friendship and clarity on an issue that was threatening my peace of mind. Maggy also removed intimidation about certain things that were overwhelming me. Tell me God didn’t arrange that. Actually, don’t because I won’t believe you.

M is a man I’ve known practically my whole life. We met quite randomly on that day; I was going to the store to get some soda and french fries (my latest addiction:) ) and bumped into him. He is responsible for a recent (and lasting) burst of optimism and enthusiasm regarding a certain major decision in my life. He is also responsible for my latest life motto: ACTION NOW! I doubt it was his intention to inspire me forward on that particular day in that particular way – we were just hanging out after all – but God knew that I needed him and so he came. It’s quite a nice feeling to have a friend re-enter your life, but when they bring with them what he brings with him, it’s definitely an added bonus.

My mum! Yes, I was surprised by this one since we’ve had a challenging time these last twelve months or so. I didn’t realize how much a certain person/situation was stressing me out until I told her about it. Talking to her allowed me to vent and gave me access to tried and true advice, which stopped me from making a radical decision that may have turned out to be a mistake. I needed what she gave me, and God knew she’d be the best person to give it. In addition, it brought us closer than we’ve been these last twelve months.

MPrissy is a friend I’ve know for years. I won’t say much about her because I simply don’t have the space. Let me say it this way: she’s the friend to whome I recently wrote “Oh my God, I really  am FAT…so depressing…” and she wrote back “…inbox me…” because she knew that this wasn’t normal talk for me; these are not words that typically leave my mouth. Simply put, she gets me. When I need a friend who gets me, I get her (get it? hahaha). Seriously though, I’m the lucky one here.

This list should be much longer because so many people have added to my life. I also accept that this list is unfair because it only focuses on the last couple of weeks, and even then I know I’m leaving some people out. My word count doesn’t allow me to name them all here but, what I do hope it allows me to do is point out the many ways we can be a blessing to someone else. It’s quite humbling to be the recipient of so much goodness so in turn, we should strive to add goodness to someone else’s life. We should be the friends we wish we had, or in my case, we already have.

I hope this inspires you forward. Of course, I also hope you come back often and share your experiences in the comments section. Remember, 2011 is the year to say YES to life and as evidenced by today’s post, to say YES to friendship.

The Yes Trail continued

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As  you know (from my About page), I started this blog almost two years ago with the intention of shouting a big, loud, resounding YES to life! I imagined writing and broadcasting many cool, fun, mundane, interesting moments of saying yes to and embracing life. Well, here I sit almost two years later with a barely updated Yes Trail.

Well, it’s a new year with new beginnings so this year, I really am going to make more of an effort to write down my YES moments of victory. In the spirit of the New Year, I have updated my YESes; check out The Yes Trail on the top of this blog page.

The point here isn’t just about writing down all the things that have added value to my life. It’s more than that; it’s about proving to myself that my life – contrary to Facebook photos – has many positive things to be celebrated. Never did this come in more handy than in 2010. My family buried many of our members, and with each funeral, a part of ourselves too. Life took a grim, dark and twisted turn and everything took on an eerie shade of grey; the kind of grey that clouds get right before a funnel cloud forms. The sun slowly faded and was replaced by the fear of phonecalls, which seemed to bring news of yet another death. I begun to feel as if I too was fading into despair.

In 2011, I am more determined than ever to embrace life, if for no other reason than to honor of those who would have loved to be here but instead rest 6ft under. Join me by living and celebrating YOUR life; life is afterall for the living and tomorrow is promised to no one.

Get out there and LIVE, and then come back and tell me all about it 🙂

Happy New Year

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Happy New Year! I hope the year continues to unfold with the same optimistic energy it seemed to begin with. As usual, many people had New Year’s resolutions all made out. I thought I’d wait about 2 weeks before checking in to see how ya’ll were doing.

So….how are you doing with those resolutions? Well, if I’m gonna ask you for info then the least I can do is give you some myself so here goes: one resolution was to stop using the word “Fuck” in all its variations. Permanently. Two weeks into the year and I can report that my success rate has been about 20% (although if I had a curse bank it’d be a bit lower, I think). It’s not that I curse like a sailor, it’s just that I use the word whenever I feel like it. Remember the goal was to stop completely! Yeah, let’s just say it’s a work in progress. Another resolution was to work on my social life. In a nutshell, I want to go out more and do more things since I’ve become quite the home body. Success rate on this one is about 50%; I have gone out more, I have made more of an effort toward making actual changes but I can’t say I’m completely satisfied with progress here. I left most of my friends in one country and I honestly don’t feel too motivated to find new friends because let’s face it, the older you get the fewer quality new friends you tend to have (or maybe that’s just me). Enough about me though. Tell me about you; your new year so far, any resolutions, progress…whatever you wanna share, it’s all good.

Another resolution is to blog more and on that, I’m giving myself a thumbs up! Talk to me and lemme know what’s new and good with you 🙂

Jane & Steve: Update

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Last we talked, Jane & Steve were having some issues. Here’s some of what has happened since:

Jane & Steve were actually doing better than usual. They had even made plans to go someplace that very week. It wasn’t a date and it wasn’t anything romantic but it was important to Jane and Steve agreed to take her. Steve didn’t really come through for Jane within the agreed-upon time frame. However, one day he called and asked her to come over to his job because he’d found someone to fill in for him briefly while they were gone. His friend never showed up so Jane spent the time hanging out with Steve and his friends at work (his job is very laid back. Infact, his friends don’t work there they just come to hang out with him there).While there, Jane seemed comfortable and so did Steve; he usually seemed a bit worried if Jane hang around him at work infront of his friends. Somewhere in those hours, things got weird for Jane but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. It seems to this observer that it was more of a cumulative effect than anything specific. Here’s what I mean:

1. Jane got to Steve’s past 4pm that afternoon. By the time she got there she was hungry and apparently, while they were chilling out, she made one of those “I’m starving…I haven’t eaten all day today” comments. Steve’s response? Silence. Nothing. Nada. Keep in mind they have a soda-fridge at his job. He didn’t even offer her a drink, which would’ve cost him 25bob! After a while, she went and got a snack and brought back enough for them both, which he gladly enjoyed. I was curious (and furious) about this one. I mean, he called her and she spent her money to go and see him and he doesn’t even offer her a drink or food? A soda is 25bob. Chips is 50bob for goodness sakes! Anyway isn’t it part of our culture to offer a guest something to eat or drink? Gentlemen, when you like a girl shouldn’t this part be obvious or am I missing something? Talk to me people 🙂

2. At a later point, he ordered a fresh juice and offered her one but Jane declined since she already had a drink. When the juice attendant stopped by later and asked if she was ready for her drink, she answered in the affirmative. Steve’s response? He apparently didn’t seem pleased, even though he had offered to get her the juice at the same time he got his. *sigh* he’s an idiot, is my opinion.

3. Later still, Steve got a bit arrogant, for example, he made comments about another woman’s butt and boobs in the presence of Jane. His reasoning? “We’re guys. That’s what we do”. In his defense (and I’m looking for a silver lining here), he apparently preferred Jane’s boobs to the other girl’s. Still, it was a bit weird for her. Later when she asked him if her top was too revealing (because her boobs are for his eyes only, I presume), he said the top was fine and anyway it was ok if his friends saw a little coz it would make them jealous and wish she was theirs and not his! Hmmmm….I’m not a guy so I won’t guess why on earth he would say any of this. Maybe my male readers would care to enlighten us girls?

To cut this long, sordid tale short(er), that night Jane went home but she had a nagging question: “what has he added to your life in the two months you’ve known him?” When Jane couldn’t answer this simple question, she knew that they were over.

A few days later, she broke up with him. Via text message!

Jane & Steve

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I’ll jump right in and ask a question: when is enough, enough? At what point do you throw in the towel? At what point do you lay down your optimism and hard work and simply concede defeat? Check this (hypothetical) situation out:

Boy meets girl or in this case, boy’s clumsiness brings him smack dab into the eye view of girl. Long story short, boy asks for girl’s number and a fun adventure begins. Except that boy wasn’t exactly looking for a girl and neither was girl looking for a boy. For purposes of this hypothetical situation, let’s call girl Jane and boy Steve. So, Steve realizes that as much as he likes Jane, he’s not ready for a relationship. Apparently, he’s spent the last one year prior to Jane’s arrival hating women, courtesy of one who did him wrong. Then there’s Jane, who also wasn’t exactly looking for a relationship but her thing is, ‘he’s here so check him out and see if he’s worth the effort’. Roughly two months into this “thing” and things are at a standstill. A casual observer might say that they both feel they’re giving more than they initially intended or were willing to give, yet neither feels particularly satisfied. The same observer might say that Jane’s efforts toward Steve seem to be appreciated by Steve and they do seem to make a positive impact. However, Jane feels that Steve’s efforts aren’t exactly meeting her needs. An example would be time: Jane wants face time with Steve. Jane needs to feel that she matters enough to Steve that he would make an effort towards her by asking for her time, especially since she has proven time and time again that she is not after his money. To be fair, there isn’t much of it. He doesn’t have a job so much as he has a temporary gig. Steve on the other hand seems to feel like he’s happy with Jane’s input and he’s already putting in a lot of time to spend with her. On the phone! To be clear, Jane consistently states she wants face-time while Steve doggedly offers phone time. Typical male brain at work or a clear message that Jane should heed?

Let me also state for the record that every single meeting they’ve had has been due to Jane being in Steve’s neighborhood for one reason or the other. Two months into this “adventure” and Steve has yet to make any effort of his own to see Jane. Further complicating this tale of like-gone-wrong is Jane’s instinct, that 6th sense that all women are supposed to have. When she checks in with hers, it tells her that perhaps she should hang in there since when they do talk they’re happy, and this could be a valuable learning opportunity for her. In other words, she’s not convinced she should walk away (although truth be told, she’s slowly getting there).

I’m the casual observer so now you’re the casual observer. What do you think? Should Jane stay or leave? My own personal question is: why would a guy who’s so clearly happy with a catch like Jane not actually make the effort to see her? Another personal one: why don’t men listen? If she wants face time (which you seem to enjoy and ps: that’s not code for sex), then why not give it to her?

I’m eager to hear what you have to say so share your thoughts in the comments section. I look forward to them. Cheers!